FISH OF SANCAP, as part of their Holiday Programming, will add an enhanced element, ‘Home for the Holidays’ specifically for the Islands’ senior population. Designed to bring merriment and cheer to island elders, FISH will provide a personalized holiday gift presented in the December holiday-themed Smile Box. The senior gift is something specifically requested by the participant such as a heated blanket, a robe, a new doggie dish for furry friends, or plants.
“Over the years, we’ve noticed that our older population begins to feel more isolated and unhappy this time of year,” says Maria Espinoza, Assistant Executive Director, FISH. “Because of the COVID pandemic, many have not seen their family or loved ones for over one year and still have mixed emotions about making holiday plans for this season.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), ‘socially isolated older adults are at higher risk for depression. The focus on family, friends and togetherness during this time of year can actually bring melancholy feelings to the forefront for many elders’.
“We want to offer something special to show support and care of our older neighbors,” Espinoza continues. “By adding the ‘Home for the Holidays’ element to the already existing Smile Box, we hope to lift the spirits of our seniors as we celebrate the holiday season in a safe and healthy way.”
In support of FISH Holiday Programming, The Sanibel-Captiva Islands Association of Realtors is holding a “Merry F.I.S.H.MAS event, where items for seniors can be dropped off at the Blue Giraffe 2 on Dec. 1 between 5-7pm. They will also be accepting items for kids and teens. Those that cannot attend the event may drop off items, or have them delivered to the Association office located at 2353 Periwinkle Way, Suite 201, Sanibel, FL 33957.
FISH wishes to thank the Realtors Association and the sponsors involved in this event, including American Momentum Bank, Coastal Title Services of SW Florida, Heidrick & Co. Insurance, Lake Michigan Credit Union of FL, Margaret Wilcox, Realtor®, Rosier Insurance, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and Superior Title Services.
Others wanting to provide support are encouraged to contact FISH to fulfil a specific senior gift request. FISH volunteers will be sort, wrap, and deliver gifts and Smile Boxes to neighbors just before the Christmas holiday. Volunteers working on this program will follow strict COVID safety measures that include wearing masks, social distancing and frequent use of hand sanitizer.